Play It Again

April 03, 2008|By ROCH KUBATKO

A recap of the Orioles' 9-6 win over the Rays last night:

Winning them over

The booing continued last night each time Aubrey Huff came to the plate or made an out, repercussions from his controversial radio appearance in November. But Huff turned the jeers to cheers in the sixth inning when he hit a two-run homer that reduced Tampa Bay's lead to 6-5 and drove starter Matt Garza from the game. And he could have run for mayor after his two-run double in the eighth off Al Reyes gave the Orioles a 7-6 lead. Huff dented the padding on the center field fence against Reyes, a former Oriole. A notoriously slow starter, Huff tied the earliest that he's homered in a season. He also continues to own the Rays. Last season, he batted .365 with seven homers against his former team.

Up to the challenge

Rule 5 pick Randor Bierd made his major league debut by diving headfirst into hot water. He entered the game for starter Daniel Cabrera with the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth inning, and allowed only one run on a double-play grounder from Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro. Nathan Haynes grounded out, and Bierd's first appearance above Double-A already was a rousing success. The former Detroit Tigers farmhand tossed a scoreless sixth, allowing a one-out double to Akinori Iwamura before retiring the last two batters. If only Cabrera had been that sharp. He allowed six runs and six hits, with five walks, in four-plus innings.

Night of firsts

Adam Jones picked a good time to get his first hit as an Oriole. His leadoff single in the third inning led to two runs, erasing a 3-1 deficit. Luis Hernandez walked, and consecutive one-out singles by Melvin Mora and Nick Markakis tied the game. Jones received a loud ovation after lining Garza's pitch into center field. Jones, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout on Opening Day, added his first RBI as an Oriole with a single in the eighth to increase the lead to 9-6, and he followed it up with his first steal.

On deck

The Orioles and Rays conclude their three-game series tonight with Steve Trachsel opposing Andy Sonnanstine. Trachsel was in the running to make the Opening Day start, but manager Dave Trembley slotted him third. Trachsel allowed 12 earned runs and 18 hits in 14 1/3 innings against Tampa Bay last season. For his career, he's 0-3 with a 5.93 ERA in five games against Tampa Bay. In three career starts against the Orioles, Sonnanstine is 1-2 with an 8.04 ERA in 15 2/3 innings. They're hitting .353 against him.

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